I don’t know about many of you Mumma’s out there but my god my son is driving me batty at the moment! and I don’t just mean the odd day here or there!
I swear he turned 12 months old, mastered walking and turned into a complete psychopath. He’s now 14 months old and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down so I have had to come up with different ways to A) Cope with him and B) Entertain him. He’s just into everything at the moment and when he doesn’t get his way my god you do not want to witness the tantrums he is capable of throwing.
Whoever said children weren’t supposed to start throwing tantrums until 15/16 months old totally got it wrong with my boy. Each day has turned into a rather crazy experiment of how far can we push mummy today. Now don’t get me wrong… he can be a real sweetie pie and I am seeing a little bit more and more of that side of him as each day goes on, so I can only hope we are coming to the end of this crazy phase…. for now anyway.
The big thing I’ve learn’t is to really stop and pay attention to him. Yeah I know we all say we do, but on days when we are out shopping for hours or days when I’m trying to get lots done either with my new little business or just good ole standard house work I find he gets worse. Naturally the days he spends with his grandparents he’s a total freaking angel then comes home and it lasts all of an hour or of course Daddy comes home from work and he turns the damn charm on….It’s starting to make me look like a big fat liar! hah
So with this little cyclone of a child running around my house, destroying it every day I figured I’d have to change some things up if we were going to survive. Once upon a time I could work on my blog or whatever and he would happily sit and play with his toys or the dog. Now I must be in the same room as him at all times no matter what I’m doing and he couldn’t possibly play with the same toy for more than 5 minutes. And when he does get over that toy? Look out! The whole house gets destroyed and I literally find myself spending an entire day running around behind him attempting to control the damage and entertain him.
Enter my search for some boredom busting activities for him! My big thing of course was that I didn’t want to buy more toys as he already has way too many (someone got rather spoilt by our family and friends on his 1st birthday!) and the other was that I had to admit that I needed some help if I was ever going to launch my little business. (more on that later!!)
Now with my munchkin now spending one day a week at one of the grandparent’s I now have time to dedicate to my blog and to growing my small biz. With my new attitude towards time management (mum speak for doing something for 5 minutes, stopping to play, then going back to work for 5 minutes and on and on and on and on it goes….) and these awesome toddler boredom busters under my belt my days are getting easier to manage!
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my DIY Toddler Boredom Busters in the hope that one of you mummy’s might be in the same boat and need a few ideas too. To get things started off here is my quick and easy, gluten free, slow cooker, homemade play dough recipe! Check back on Tuesdays for more great ideas 😉
Easy Slow Cooker Play Dough Recipe
2 Cups Rice Flour (Why rice flour? Because it’s gluten free so you don’t have to worry about sharing this with friends or play dates who might be intolerant or coeliac! and it’s a fine flour so makes a nice smooth consistency.)
1 Cup Corn Flour (ensuring it’s a gluten free brand, yes corn flour has gluten too)
1 Cup Table Salt (Don’t use sea salt here for obvious reasons it won’t be fine enough)
1/4 Cup Cream of Tartar
2 Cups Hot Water (not boiling!)
2 tsp Canola Oil
**Assorted food dyes for colouring, glitter or essential oils to make it a little something special!
And of course toys, cookie cutters and other play dough making fun!
In the bowl of a slow cooker add all of the dry ingredients; flour, corn flour, salt and cream of tartar. Give it a rough mix and turn on the slow cooker to allow it to start warming up.
Next you can add the liquid ingredients; water and oil and mix roughly with a wooden spoon. Now all you have to do is bang the lid of your slow cooker on, turn it to High or Auto setting and walk away!
How long your play dough will take will be up to the size and heat of your slow cooker. Mine is quite large and I only have an Auto setting so it only took 30 minutes!! If you have a smaller cooker and a High setting it can take up to 2 hours, however I recommend setting a timer and checking it and giving it a good stir every 30 minutes.
Once it starts to clump together and form a slightly sticky dough ball it’s done! Now you can turn it out onto the bench (be careful, it’s hot!) and knead it gently till it really smooths out. If you’re finding your dough a bit dry or too wet you can simply add a touch more warm water or flour until you reach the desired consistency.
Now comes the fun part! I suggest using a wipe able place mat or tablecloth to protect your bench or table top before you start adding dyes and glitter, it will make clean up so much easier. Separate and roll your dough into balls, push a thumb into the center of each and add as much or as little food colouring. Knead it through until the desired consistency is reached! There is no such thing as too much colour here or too much glitz for that matter, so feel free to add some glitter in too or a few drops of a favourite essential oil. In fact a friend of mine adds in a calming blend so that when the kids play with it it calms them down, works a treat too! I chose to add no glitter as my boy is still a bit young to get it and likes to try and eat it, glitter, (unless you use edible stuff) wouldn’t be ideal.
**Just a note on the food colouring. I normally only recommend the use of gel food colouring in baking as you only need a few drops to get a really rich, punchy colour. However in this case I would suggest you use the good ole’ classic liquid stuff, you won’t need masses to get the look you want. The gel stuff in this case just takes an awful lot longer to knead through and doesn’t always distribute the colour evenly.
Your play dough is now ready for some serious fun! I must admit, it did take me a while to let the creativity flow and just have some good old fun with my boy and hubby, but I got there eventually. Hard isn’t it? To return to the free flowing vibe of childhood! But we now have a really easy way to entertain Mister L that doesn’t destroy the house, keeps him in one place for more than 10 minutes (seriously!) and helps develop his fine motor skills and colours! Plus SO much fun! I know he is still a little young to really get into play dough, but there’s too many benefits and I just couldn’t help myself.
The best way to store your play dough is wrapped tightly in cling wrap and sealed in a plastic container. It should keep this way for approx 3 months or so, then you can just whip up another batch and throw the old stuff out.
One thing I did think of as I was making this up; how cool would it be to make up a heap of this recipe, colour it up and pop some into small plastic tubs and give away in loot bags with a cutter each for kids parties?! Kinda cool huh! I plan on doing this once Mister L is a bit older for sure.
For now go get the kids involved and have some fun! Do you have a great toddler boredom buster? Why not comment below so we can all give it a try!
Be sure to stay tuned over the following weeks to see what other awesome and simple ways we’ve come up with to entertain our son… The best way to do that? Jump over to the right and click the subscribe link. You’ll have new ideas delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re published.